With an abundance of cafes, restaurants, and wineries to choose from, McLaren Vale has always been a popular weekend getaway. Now there is another reason to make the journey to the celebrated wine region just 40 kilometres south of Adelaide - The Vale Market.
On the first and third Sunday of every month, The Vale Market is held on the lawns of the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre from 9 am until 1 pm. It is the newest market to the area and has only been operating since January of this year. While it may not yet offer the assortment or amount of stalls as the neighbouring Willunga Quarry Market, it is worth checking out. It is a fine example of what McLaren Vale has to offer as well as being casual and cruisey, just what you want on a Sunday morning.
With views of the surrounding vineyards, it is the perfect setting for the market that proudly showcases locally made produce and products. To give you an idea of what to expect, there are stalls selling hand-made gifts, quirky signs, aromatic candles, beaded jewellery, potted cacti, and regional delicacies like wine and olives. There is still room for more stallholders, so inevitably the market will continue to flourish.
How do you survive an Adelaide heatwave? Many people found respite from the recent bout of scorching weather at the home-made ice block stand. With curious flavours like cherry and almond, peach and basil, and banana and avocado, it was a magnet for the overheated. Luckily, there is a shady veranda to escape inclement weather and in extreme conditions, the market can be moved indoors. The fondue kits at Chocolique suffered in the summer sun, but the chocolate fountain provided an impressive point of interest and will no doubt prove irresistible in cooler climates.
Local buskers and musicians create a wonderful ambience playing laid-back acoustic tunes to entertain the large crowds that the market has been attracting. Groups laze around on the grassy knoll enjoying the music, while others peruse the stalls. There is also playground, along with other fun things like a bouncy castle, to keep children amused and active.
There are a couple of food stalls (Bull Creek Bakery is one) and also a cafe in the Visitor Information Centre where you can grab coffee and a bite to eat. Or, once you're done at the market, head off to one of the many eateries that line Main Road for brunch. Bracegirdle's @ 190, The Artel Lounge Bar & Restaurant, and The Tin Shed Café all come highly recommended for a delicious meal and relaxed atmosphere.
The McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre is found on Main Road at McLaren Vale and there is plenty of on-site parking available. While you're there, take the opportunity to pick up some souvenirs for family and friends, admire the artwork at the Stump Hill Gallery, and gather brochures and information about all the local attractions of the Fleurieu Peninsula.